President Biden announced Springfield as one of the 24 communities to receive a Strategy Development Grant (SDG) as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s ReCompete Pilot Program. Over 560 applications were received during the ReCompete Program’s initial competition, representing the highest demand of any national program in EDA’s history.
Led by Sai Joshi, Bloomberg-Harvard Fellow at the City, Springfield submitted an application in October 2023 and was notified of their selection today. The project titled Springfield Economic Empowerment Project (SEEP) is a public, institutional, and philanthropic alliance that includes local partners like Lincoln-Land Community College, The Springfield Project, Springfield-Sangamon Growth Alliance, and the Community Foundation.
SEEP aims to revitalize Springfield’s socio-economic fabric, prioritizing historically underrepresented communities. At the project proposal’s core is the expansion of successful training initiatives, including Lincoln-Land’s Workforce Equity Initiative and the Highway Construction Careers Training Program, providing free education programs to facilitate high-wage employment. Augmenting this effort, are programs like Innovate Springfield by the University of Illinois Springfield, cultivating diverse entrepreneurial ventures, and the Summer Youth Initiative by the Springfield Project, which offers the dual benefit of skill-building and wage-earning to young aspirants.
Mayor Misty Buscher said, “We are thankful to the Biden-Harris administration for this win for Springfield. As the capital city of Illinois, the City of Springfield is committed to championing efforts to improve the economic mobility of our distressed communities. Our public, institutional, and philanthropic partners’ coalition has been leading the way to bridge economic gaps holistically. The ReCompete Program funding will elevate our efforts to revitalize Springfield’s socio-economic fabric. The Springfield Economic Empowerment Project stands as a symbol of Springfield’s unwavering commitment to inclusive growth. We are excited to hit the ground running!”
ReCompete will invest $200 million nationwide in economic and workforce development projects that connect workers to good jobs in geographically diverse and persistently distressed communities.
Abby Powell, Director of Business Development at the Springfield-Sangamon Growth Alliance, said, “Springfield's success in securing the Strategy Development ReCompete Grant represents a pivotal step toward addressing enduring economic challenges within our city. The Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance is pleased to join forces with the City and other partners in workforce and economic development like Cap 1908, Lincoln Land Community College, Land of Lincoln Workforce Alliance, and Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, among others, in our shared mission to address the employment gap in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods. With the EDA's investment bolstering our collective efforts, we're poised to reshape Springfield's economic landscape, fostering inclusive growth, nurturing new businesses, and ensuring equitable opportunities for every member of our community to thrive.”